School of Psychology & Counseling

Frequently Asked Questions -
Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision

  1. Why is a 48-hour Master's degree in Counseling a prerequisite?
  2. Are there any residency requirements?
  3. What career options are available to graduates from your program?
  4. What does the future look like for graduates entering the field?
  5. What is the length and teaching format of the program?
  6. What is the path for licensure for graduates from your program, and in what areas are they eligible to be licensed or otherwise professionally credentialed?
  7. What professional organizations or associations provide information about the field your program prepares graduates to enter? Where can I find more information?
  8. What sort of students typically enroll in your program? What kind of training and preparation do they usually have?
  9. What types of clinical or practica training experiences do students gain in your program?

1. Why is a 48-hour Master's degree in Counseling a prerequisite?

Accreditation of Doctoral Programs in Counselor Education & Supervision is conferred by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The stringent accreditation criteria used by CACREP are the result of extensive input from educators, practitioners and the public-at-large. Program accreditation by CACREP provides a credential to the public-at-large which attests that a counseling program has accepted and is fulfilling its commitment to educational quality.

As indicated on the CACREP web pages (2009 Standards), there are specific educational foundations at the master's level that accreditation-seeking doctoral programs must require of its matriculating students. Having a 48-hour Master's degree in Counseling provides an applicant with the best opportunity to present master's level training that meets the educational foundations expected by CACREP.

Per CACREP, a core curriculum of courses provides the minimum knowledge and skills considered necessary to anyone serving in the field of counseling:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Group Work
  • Social and Cultural Foundations (or Multicultural Counseling)
  • Appraisal (or Assessment)
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation and Identity
  • Career and Lifestyle Development
  • Helping Relationships
  • Psychopathology (Regent Faculty required in addition to CACREP competencies)

Additionally, CACREP accredited master's programs require supervised clinical experiences that include practica and internships. Specifically, students must have had supervised practicum experiences (or the equivalent) that total a minimum of 100 clock hours (40 hours of which must have been direct client contact), and a supervised internship experience (or the equivalent) of 600 clock hours (240 hours of which must have been direct client contact). Supervised experiences include both individual and group supervision.

If your master's degree is from a CACREP accredited program, you will normally have met all the curricular and clinical experience requirements to apply to this doctoral program.

If your master's degree did not provide education and clinical experiences that meet the above criteria, you will need to do what we call remediation. You can still apply to and be accepted into the doctoral program conditionally, but you will need to complete all the missing elements in your remediation plan by no later than the end of the first year of study in the program. To meet the requirements before you begin the program, you can take missing courses from an accredited university (the counseling program does not have to be CACREP accredited but the university must be regionally accredited). As an example, if you have taken coursework in seven of the eight courses listed above but lack curricular experience in Career and Lifestyle Development, you can take a three-semester hour master's level course from an accredited university before you apply for or begin the doctoral program and present your transcript showing successful completion of the course for your file.

As you consider applying to the program, we strongly recommend that you compare you master's degree curricular and clinical experiences with the 2009 CACREP Standards found here. Section II., Item G, #1-8 details the core curricular experience descriptions, and Section III., Items F and G give the clinical experience descriptions, so that you can determine any deficiencies you might need to remediate. These requirements are rigorous, but the ultimate result will be becoming a part of a program of recognized quality.

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2. Are there any residency requirements?

The doctoral program includes a stimulating and instructional residency requirement. Doctoral students will be required to attend and successfully complete three week long residencies during the course of the program.

What is a residency? It is a block of time set aside for all students in a cohort to come to the Regent University campus in Virginia Beach, Va., for a period of about a week, to meet as a group and engage in coursework, team-building activities, workshops and social/cultural events.

The online format of the program challenges students and faculty alike to find alternative ways to create the personal interaction and connectivity that often develops in the traditional face-to-face classroom course. Residency offers an incredible opportunity for cohort members to meet and build relationships with one another, faculty and staff. In addition, residencies provide wonderful networking and mentoring opportunities for students with faculty and peers. These opportunities facilitate in-person discussions with faculty concerning the dissertation and allow time for students to identify faculty research interests to assist students in selecting a faculty dissertation chairperson.

During residency students begin coursework and meet regularly during the residency with the instructor in a face-to-face classroom setting, then return home to complete the coursework in the online environment.

Some students consider bringing their families with them during the residency, but this is generally discouraged. Students' daily schedules during the residency are occupied with many activities that they are required to attend. The coursework is intensive and requires a considerable amount of study and preparation time, and students typically do not find the residency period conducive to being able to spend time with their families.

Students should consider the following residency costs: 1) tuition for the course, 2) transportation, 3) textbooks purchased prior to residency, and 4) room and board. The School of Psychology & Counseling usually provides lunch and two breaks each day when courses are in session. Students must make their own travel, lodging and other meal arrangements, but the School assists with information on these, and residency links will be posted on the program's website as the residency nears, to assist students with making the necessary arrangements.

The doctoral program is committed to the historical foundations of the doctoral degree in which a community of scholars is created among faculty-mentors and student-scholars. Regent University mirrors this historical tradition by the utilization of student cohorts, intensive on-campus residencies, and a variety of interactive discussion modes that extend beyond topical course discourse. In view of this goal, the waving of residency requirements will not be considered.

For more information, please visit the doctoral program residency information page.

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3. What career options are available to graduates from your program?

Graduates with the Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision are trained counseling professionals who can provide a multiplicity of professional services such as: 

  • Teaching in college and university settings, as experts in human relations skills and affective education in K-12 settings and community mental health settings
  • Supervising beginning through advanced counselors
  • Counseling interventions with individuals, families, children and groups, treating a wide variety of psychological problems typically presented in outpatient counseling
  • Crisis intervention responses
  • Expert witness testimony within scope of clinical specialty, education and training
  • Professional consultation with individuals, groups, businesses and organizations
  • Program development, both in educational and community mental health settings
  • Program evaluation of public, private and governmental programs
  • Development and direction of school counseling programs for schools and/or school districts
  • Administration and management of mental health agencies and organizations
  • Research and publication in the field of counseling

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4. What does the future look like for graduates entering the field?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment prospects for counselors in all specialties is very good to excellent. It is anticipated that between 2006 and 2016 the demand for counselors, and those who train counselors will rise 13 percent for school counselors and 34 percent for substance abuse and behavioral counselors. Similarly, the expected increase in the demand for post-secondary educators is expected to be 23 percent. The demand for counseling professors would be higher given the increased demand for master's level counseling professionals. In summary, the job outlook for Ph.D. level professional counselors is very good. Click here to see data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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5. What is the length and teaching format of the program?  

The doctoral program is 66 semester hours beyond a 48-hour master's degree and takes about four years to complete. The program is offered in a distance (online) format, which allows students to matriculate from almost any location in the world. There are three seven-day residencies during the course of the program, during which students are required to come to Regent University's campus in Virginia Beach for intensive teaching, orientation and workshop events. The doctoral program is a full-time, lockstep program for the first two years of the program, during which time students matriculate along the specified course progression in a cohort model and take 18 semester hours across three terms a year (fall, spring, and summer) each of the two years. Beginning the third year, students may vary the course selection for which they are enrolled each term to include choices of electives. An internship is required, and students sit for written and oral comprehensive examinations to qualify for doctoral candidacy to write a dissertation.

The maximum time allowed to complete the program is seven years. In addition, doctoral students must maintain continuous enrollment in the program during all academic years (i.e., three terms, including residency, each calendar year). Each term is approximately 15 weeks long, except the summer term which is ten weeks long.

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6. What is the path for licensure for graduates from your program, and in what areas are they eligible to be licensed or otherwise professionally credentialed?  

Professional counselors are licensed and certified at the master's level. Graduates of the doctoral program do not receive any additional licensure or authorizing credential. However, students do receive the education and training required by many states to perform counselor supervision; graduates would typically be eligible to apply for supervisor privileges from their individual state licensing boards. Professional counselors may also seek national certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors; although the NCC credential is not required for independent practice and is not a substitute for the legislated state credentials, those who hold the credential appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met national standards developed by counselors, not legislators. Due to the nature of the licensing process in counseling, as well as the prerequisite of the master's degree, it is assumed that the Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision will appeal to those individuals who already have their licenses to practice professional counseling, in that the concentration of skill training received in the doctoral program is designed to increase counseling skills to an advanced level.

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7. What professional organizations or associations provide information about the field your program prepares graduates to enter? Where can I find more information?  

The American Counseling Association (ACA, http://www.counseling.org ) is the professional organization dedicated to the advancement of the discipline of counseling. The division of ACA that may most exemplify the professional identity of Counselor Education & Supervision graduates is the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES, http://www.acesonline.net/ ).

The ACA also has 19 divisions
Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education (AACE)
Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA)
Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC)
American College Counseling Association (ACCA).
Association for Counselors and Educators in Government (ACEG)
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)
Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC)
Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD)
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA)
American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC)
Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW)
Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development (C-AHEAD)
Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ)
International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC)
International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC)
National Career Development Association (NCDA)
National Employment Counseling Association (NECA)

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) sets rigorous counseling program standards and is the body that is responsible for conferring accreditation on counseling programs in the U.S. This organization is a good source of information about the profession of counseling, as is the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC, http://www.nbcc.org ) that administers the national certification process for the discipline of counseling.

In addition to ACA involvement, many of our faculty and students are also actively involved with the Christian Association for Psychological Studies. CAPS is a professional organization that inclusively promotes the participation of all mental health professionals who seek to integrate principles of the Christian faith into professional practice, research and scholarship.  From their website, they seek:

  • Understanding of the relationship between Christianity and the behavioral sciences at both the clinical/counseling and the theoretical/research levels.
  • Fellowship among Christians in psychological and related professions.
  • The spiritual, emotional and professional well-being of our members.
  • Educational and research opportunities that assist the profession and the community at large.
  • Through its various programs, CAPS encourages the pursuit of excellence ... in the counseling clinic, in the classroom, in the community and in the member's spiritual and emotional life.
More information on  CAPS can be found at http://www.caps.net

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8. What sort of students typically enroll in your program? What kind of training and preparation do they usually have?  

Individuals who have already earned a minimum of a licensure-track, 48-hour Master's degree in Counseling or significantly related educational program such as psychology or social work, and typically have experience in the mental health field will be candidates for the program (those with less than 48 hours or with a non-CACREP accredited degree may have to take additional coursework as a prerequisite to full admission). The Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision requires the master's degree as a prerequisite. Students may already have their licenses to practice as professional counselors or may be in the process of fulfilling those requirements. Potential students would include adult learners who desire to augment the education and training they received from their counseling-related master's education and want or need the flexibility of an online, nonresident program to meet their current commitments to family or job.

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9. What types of clinical or practica training experiences do students gain in your program?  

The Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision program has been developed to meet all the rigorous accreditation standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that are designed to ensure excellence in education and training of those who seek to become counseling educators and advanced practitioners. Doctoral students are required to participate in advanced practica during which they see clients in settings supervised by licensed site supervisors as well as the doctoral faculty. As a capstone event of the doctoral program, in addition to writing their dissertation, students engage in an internship during which they provide direct client services in a supervised setting.

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